10 Things Your Baby Doesn’t Need that Can Fund Their College Education.

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in College Savings,Frugality,Kids and Money,Savings

I want to share my sage parenting advice to you would be or soon to be parents. The amount of products the corporate juggernauts are advocating for the health and well being of your baby is staggering. Here’s a secret: You don’t need most of them. I’ll never forget the day I walked into a Babies R’ Us superstore. It was similar to what I would imagine a cave man would feel walking into a Cabelas. Here I’ve been feeding my family by beating saber tooth’s over the head with a club when I could have been held up in my camoflauge tree stand firing a high powered sniper rifle from a mile away. The bottom line is you just don’t need all of that stuff despite what every well meaning parent or sales associate tells you. For the record I’m not advocating anything that would be unsafe for your baby. I love my kids and would do most anything for them, there are just choices you can make as a parent that will have no impact one way or the other. Do my kids remember or care that I didn’t buy them all of these things? No.

10 Baby Products You Don’t Need

  1. The Baby Wipe Warmer. Now wipes are about the greatest thing since sliced bread.  They can just about clean up anything and you just toss them away.  Fantastic.  But honestly do they need to be warmed to 98.6 degrees?  Jr. needs to learn that sometimes his diaper is going to need to be changed on the tailgate of your SUV with cold baby wipes.  That’s all there is to it.  I can’t get my kids to wear coats in the winter, what the heck do they care if their wipes are cold.  Savings: $23.99.
  2. A Reclining High Chair. Your baby does not need to sleep while it’s eating.  If it’s asleep put it in it’s crib or bassinet.  By the cheapest high chair you can find that looks sturdy because it’s going to be trashed.  The forty dollar high chair served our kids incredibly well.  Savings:  $201.
  3. A $300+ Stroller System. If you read various literature they would have you believe that anything less than $300 for a stroller system is crap, I certainly smell something stinky around here but it’s not the babies diaper if you catch my drift.  The stroller system is awesome, an infant seat, a car base and a stroller it clips into is great.  Then you can use the stroller when the baby can actually sit up for a couple of years.  You can get a decent setup for $160 or so but they climb well past $300 for more trendy models.  Don’t be fooled.  Also do us all a favor, when little Johnny or Susie hit’s about 4 they should be walking not riding.  Savings:  $140.
  4. Pretty Much anything made by Peg Perego. As much as I enjoy a gilded bouncy seat your little bundle of joy doesn’t need one.  Go check out at Babies R Us or some other site, you wont’ find anything made by them less than a $180. Let’s take bouncers for example.  The bouncer is a fantastic little seat that actually gives you a fighting chance to say… eat.  If you opted for the Peg Perego model you’d spend $189.  Go for a nice Fisher Price model for $41 and you’re set.  Savings:  $148.
  5. The Temperpedic Adjustable Crib. Don’t be fooled thinking that there is no way you could buy a used crib.  Yes you definitely need to check it against the latest safety standards, but there are plenty of cribs with a lot of life left in them.  Here’s a helpful tip when assembling the crib, be sure it’s in the room you want it to be in.  Those suckers are large and won’t fit through the doorway assembled.  Not that I know from experience or anything.  Savings:  $200.
  6. The Noah’s Ark Tweed Diaper Bag. Don’t fall for this one.  If you have a backpack at home, that will work fantastic for holding your babies essentials.  Backpacks are designed to hold stuff.  You do not need a dedicated use bag.  Do Dad a solid and don’t make him carry the pink and teal stork covered diaper bag.  Savings:  $50.
  7. A Baby Changing Table. What are you going to do with that piece of furniture once your toddler is potty trained?  Sure your back may get sore changing them on the floor, instead get a changing pad that has some straps on it and strap it to your dresser.  Done.  Savings:  $125.
  8. A White Noise Generator. Baby doesn’t need to listen to Orca’s crying or Niagra Falls to go to sleep.  In fact you’re probably damaging her hearing.  Here’s something new, teach them to fall asleep with the sound of …. nothing.  Savings:  $30.
  9. A Mini Van. A car seat will fit in a lot of vehicles.  If you have one baby, odds are you don’t need a new car.  When the second one comes around you can start looking until then, your Sentra is going to work fine.  Savings:  $25,000.
  10. A Larger House. Guess what, babies can live in the space of a closet no problem.  They are only about 2 feet long, max.  My good friends baby lived in a closet for the first year.  She’s a great 5th grader now, no worse for the wear.  Savings:  $200,000+.

What to Do with Your Savings

Since I’ve helped you save all this money let’s take our savings from above (we’ll exclude the house and minivan) and invest it in a Coverdell Education Savings Account.  If you put the $917.99 in an ESA assuming a 10% rate of return on a low fee index based mutal fund you’d have $5104 saved for Susie when she enters college.  All that money just for enduring a chilly bottom.  That’s money well earned.  Got some of your own money saving parenting tips?  I’d love to hear them.

Photo Courtesy Hyperscholar

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

The Casual Observer 2009/11/09 at 6:45 am

What about a bottle warmer :) Our 2 year old easily got accustomed to bottles at room temperature, which made it much easier to prepare bottles in public. (There’s never a public bottle warmer when you need one.)

We’re expecting our second child in January and making a concerted effort to avoid a mini-van. We have a Taurus, which should fit allow both car seats to fit.
.-= The Casual Observer´s last blog ..Review of The Lost Symbol =-.

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paul 2009/11/10 at 10:53 am

Fight the power Kosmo, the Taurus is nice and roomy! Good one about the bottle warmer too, again raising future complex coffee orderers.

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G Camps 2009/11/09 at 12:23 pm

RE: wipe warmers

Besides, whenever I used these warm wipes, it made my kid PEE ON ME,

**EVERYTIME**

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Jason @ Redeeming Riches 2009/11/09 at 12:41 pm

Ha! I totally agree! My sister bought us a wipe warmer for our first child and we ended up just returning it. Our kids haven’t complained! =)

I will say though that the reclining high chairs are nice when your baby can hold her own bottle – you just recline her a bit and mom and dad can still eat dinner at the same time!
.-= Jason @ Redeeming Riches´s last blog ..5 Dumb Mistakes That Smart People Make =-.

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paul 2009/11/10 at 10:51 am

I think the baby wipe warmer just encourages the 179 degree white mocha starbucks fanatics. Too funny. You may have a point on the reclining high chair, we just always used the bouncy chair.

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rb 2009/11/09 at 4:09 pm

We never bought a bassinet for our 3 kids. Instead, the baby bed was set up in our room until they slept through the night. I was afraid our big dog would want to peek in the bassinet and the baby would go flying. The bed was much safer. When the youngest grew out of the bed we gave it to a young broke family and the bed really was good as new.

I also saved money when I made my own baby food. The expense of the jars really adds up. I would have green beans, green peas, carrots, pears, peaches, corn, etc for dinner here and there. Before I season our food, I’d set aside a cup or so of food and throw it in the food processer with a little water. Then freeze it in ice cube trays. I could later pop them out of the tray and heat them.

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kenyantykoon 2009/11/10 at 7:03 am

babies get pampered like this because of how cute they are. Most parents want to give their kids everything even the things that they clearly wont need. But then everybody wants to spoil those little bundles of joy. I think that parents should be careful not to overdo it because they might end up with a lot of clatter when the babies grow up
.-= kenyantykoon´s last blog ..PREFERRED STOCKS MAY NOT BE BETTER AFTER ALL =-.

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SailboatFamily 2009/11/10 at 8:59 am

This is so true… so much money is wasted on items not needed. As it relates to the stroller, you can completely by pass it. We did. We have 2 children (a 4 year old and a 1.5 year old) and we’ve never owned bought a stroller. Heck, our kids have never even ridden in one. Also watch out for all the named brand clothing. It hurts on this front. The kids grow so fast, so you may only get a few wears. Figure out the average cost per wear and it will make you sick. Shoes are another area that can be buy passed. Why buy our baby shoes? Are they going to be walking around? Heck, they can’t even roll around when they are babies. If you believe they need shoes for a picture, borrow the shoes or put clothes on that mask the lack of shoes (for girls this is easy) or simply crop the picture at the feet.

Babies have survived a long time … at least as long as mankind has been around. Reflect back on what was available to cave babies … that is the minimum entry condition. Anything above that is convenience … and you chose how much convenience you want to buy.
.-= SailboatFamily´s last blog ..Selling the body for the trip =-.

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paul 2009/11/10 at 10:49 am

Oh man I totally forgot about shoes, that is so true. What 1 month old doesn’t need some Timberlands!

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Julie 2009/11/10 at 2:33 pm

I bought a minivan, but that is because 3 adults and 2 rearfacing children in carseats do not fit in a Civic. Also, we are planning to have more. My mom lives with us and watches our children during the day. The cost savings of not having to pay for daycare are well worth buying a minivan.

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Kosmo @ The Casual Observer 2009/11/10 at 9:21 pm

Yeah, I’d buy a minivan if I could get free daycare as part of the deal :) Our day costs just went up by a cringe-worthy amount … and the day care eliminated the multi-child discount – just months before the arrival of TLO (The Littlest Observer).

(No – that won’t be the kid’s nickname.)
.-= Kosmo @ The Casual Observer´s last blog ..The Best League Ever =-.

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Mr. Not the Jet Set 2009/11/11 at 10:49 am

love the picture

Other alternatives to the White noise generator:
- ceiling fan
- CD player

As newborns, our tended to sleep though everything, but as they got to be about a year old, EVERYTHING would wake them. A softly playing CD made for a nice buffer.

Also, on #9, the minivan – it drives me nuts when people have their second child and suddenly think they need to be driving a Ford Subdivision. I’ve seen people fit 3 car seats across the back seat of an Accord! With no complaints.
.-= Mr. Not the Jet Set´s last blog ..Bagnesia Product Review/ Giveaway =-.

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Ashley 2009/11/11 at 1:31 pm

I can only imagine the trauma your friends kid will face when she realizes she was raised in a closet for the first year of her life, JK ;-)

A few of my friends have recently had babies and its ridiculous the amount of unnecessary things they feel they must buy or their children will forever be damaged. I’d also throw on their design clothing. All baby clothes end up covered in some form of bodily fluid and they can only wear them for about a week before they grow out of stuff. Buy cheap or buy thrift store.

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Erin 2009/11/12 at 3:14 pm

Can you ad Diaper Genie to the list??

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paul 2009/11/12 at 3:59 pm

Oh man that’s a good one, because heaven forbid you use a trash can. You need a specialized vessel for diaper containment complete with specialized bags. Good one Erin.

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Kari 2009/12/07 at 5:38 am

I got a diaper genie as a gift and I love it, mainly because I don’t have to smell the diapers like I would when I would put them in the trash.

Kevin@OutOfYourRut 2009/11/14 at 7:02 am

Paul–This post is bold and right on the money. Our kids are well past the baby stage, and what stands out most in my mind is how quickly that phase passes. It’s not worth spending big dollars as though you’re going to camp out there for a few years.

I’d add that for what ever you do buy for your baby (or babies), go second hand where you can. They move from phase to phase so quickly that most of the stuff you have will only be needed for a few months. Meanwhile, they’ll never know the difference between the premium gadget and the one that’s just as good at 20% of the price, or the list of stuff they never had.

Having a baby is so emotional that parents are vulnerable to being sold on nearly anything. Good job offering a different path.

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paul's wife 2009/11/15 at 11:39 pm

We really did have the Noah’s Ark Tweed Diaper Bag… it was a gift.

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Kate 2010/02/20 at 9:38 pm

I was given a wipe warmer during my first pregnancy. They are just not worth the trouble. On top of that, why would you want yet another energy burner? I was also given a spiffy little trashcan with a pad that would lift the lid when you stepped on it. I never used it- it couldn’t keep up with the volume of diapers three babies can produce.

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Mario from Peru 2010/05/15 at 10:48 am

I was born in Peru and like most babies down there, I didn’t have a crib. Instead my family got me a big wooden box to play in during the day. Also no stroller or car seat or any warmers of any kind.

I’m about to become a father now here in the states and it blows my mind how much stuff we buy for babies.

Thanks for your post.

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David Grant 2010/08/17 at 12:11 am

You might have missed the point of white noise generators. They are great at making other, more sudden noises disappear. If there is a loud dog next door, crows outside baby’s window, mommy or daddy dropping something on the kitchen floor, baby won’t hear it, whereas without white noise they might hear it and wake up. It doesn’t damage your hearing. We bought some white noise mp3s online and play them through a Sweat Pea 3 portable music player.

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